Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Real History: New Guinea - lessons from a cradle of agriculture and languages

An interesting video about the linguistic history of New Guinea and what it reveals about the past of the people of the island.

The first inhabitants Indigenous people of New Guinea, from whom the Papuan people are probably descended, adapted to the range of ecologies and, in time, developed one of the earliest known agricultures. Remains of this agricultural system, in the form of ancient irrigation systems in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, are being studied by archaeologists. Research indicates that the highlands were an early and independent center of agriculture, with evidence of irrigation going back at least 10,000 years.[38] Sugarcane was cultivated in New Guinea around 6000 BCE.[39]

The gardens of the New Guinea Highlands are ancient, intensive permacultures, adapted to high population densities, very high rainfalls (as high as 10,000 mm per year (400 in/yr)), earthquakes, hilly land, and occasional frost. Complex mulches, crop rotations and tillages are used in rotation on terraces with complex irrigation systems. Western agronomists still do not understand all of the practices, and it has been noted that native gardeners are as, or even more, successful than most scientific farmers in raising certain crops.[40] There is evidence that New Guinea gardeners invented crop rotation well before western Europeans.[41] A unique feature of New Guinea permaculture is the silviculture of Casuarina oligodon, a tall, sturdy native ironwood tree, suited to use for timber and fuel, with root nodules that fix nitrogen. Pollen studies show that it was adopted during an ancient period of extreme deforestation.

In more recent millennia, another wave of people arrived on the shores of New Guinea. These were the Austronesian people, who had spread down from Taiwan, through the South-east Asian archipelago, colonising many of the islands on the way. The Austronesian people had technology and skills extremely well adapted to ocean voyaging and Austronesian language speaking people are present along much of the coastal areas and islands of New Guinea. They also introduced pigs and dogs. These Austronesian migrants are considered the ancestors of most people in insular Southeast Asia, from Sumatra and Java to Borneo and Sulawesi, as well as coastal new Guinea.[42]

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Elephant Queens & Tiger Kings - 10: Conspiracy of the Idol

    Some ambient music for this episode. 

(Click map to zoom)

Recap: I've been recruited into a diplomatic and trade mission from the City of Pearls to Nanbeg Gakwha, the city of the Longheads a fearsome war-like people that are known for their practice of skull-binding. After two weeks our boats reached their city where we unloaded our mysterious cargo.

During our stay we discovered that an idol has gone missing and that our group has been accused of stealing it. The ambassadors (3 from each boat) were held captive as well as 4 mariners (including myself). There is no evidence of us being involved and it seems that we are being used as pawns in political game between rival factions within the city of the Longheads. After being searched and questioned we are taken back to a holding cell, unsure of our fate.

Read the other episodes here: Game Diary: Elephant Queens & Tiger Kings

We are held in our cell all day with no explanation and eventually all go to sleep, not sure what the future holds. Together our group consists of 9 ambassadors and 4 mariners (including myself).

Will we get more clarity in the morning about our fate? Ask the Oracle.

Action: Investigate

Theme: Ruin

Major Plot Twist: A trap is sprung

I wake up in the middle of the night, there is only the faint moon light from small windows high up in the room. I notice a figure skulking nearby, moving to the centre of the room. There is something gleaming in his hands. I think it's the idol. A small golden statue.

I decide to get up quietly and see if I can manoeuvre to a position that will give me and advantage to pounce on him.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Real History: How an advanced civilisation vanished 2,500 years ago – BBC News

A look at a Bronze Age civilization in Southern Spain. This site was deliberately buried so the architecture is well preserved and you get a great sense of what it must have been like to walk through the building thousands of years ago.

Learn more about this civilisation here: Wikipedia: Tartessos

Friday, July 28, 2023

Real History: Chaco Canyon

A look at the Chaco Canyon culture in New Mexico. The architecture of the great houses is especially interesting and a provides great inspiration for alternative types of urbanism in an ancient setting. The average contains 200 rooms and some as many as 700.

Read more about the: Ancestral Puebloans

Note: I've collected all my Real History posts in one place: Real History

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Real History: Rice farming in India much older than thought, used as 'summer crop' by Indus civilisation

Thought to have arrived from China in 2000 BC, latest research shows domesticated rice agriculture in India and Pakistan existed centuries earlier, and suggests systems of seasonal crop variation that would have provided a rich and diverse diet for the Bronze Age residents of the Indus valley.

Rice farming in India much older than thought, used as 'summer crop' by Indus civilisation

Sunday, July 16, 2023